Gudo Nishijima's Zazen Retreat Talks

Gudo Nishijima

My Zen teacher, Gudo Nishijima, held a 3-day English language Zazen Retreat at Tokei-in temple in Shizuoka city, Japan around the beginning of September each year for about 25 years until he retired in 2003. Nishijima Roshi gave four lectures during each retreat. Each lecture was followed by a period of questions and answers. This page has pdf files of four talks I transcribed from the 1995 and 1996 retreats.

Talk 1

Nishijima talks about his fundamental ideas about Buddhism, and the relationship between religion and western philosophy.

Talk 2

Nishijima outlines the life of Master Dogen, a 13th century Buddhist priest and philosopher, and discusses four main principles of Master Dogen's most famous book, Shobogenzo. The four principles are: 1. The will to the truth; 2. The existence of the rule of cause and effect; 3. The instantaneousness of this world; 4. Zazen.

Talk 3

Nishijima describes the origins of various Buddhist sects in Japan and compares the two main sects that practice Zazen - the Rinzai sect and the Soto sect.

Talk 4

The last lecture is an open discussion between Gudo Nishijima and the retreat participants during which he answers various questions about Buddhism.